Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cultivating a Culture of Reading

Sometimes trying to cultivate readers in middle school has felt like trying to grow a garden on a sidewalk. The only places where reading was encouraged and promoted was by their language arts teachers and me, the librarian. We provided the cracks in the otherwise barren surface, hoping readers would spring up even under the "harsh" conditions.

So, in an attempt to harvest a greater crop of readers, I formed a reading committee at the end of the school year. I invited teachers of all subject areas to participate. To my pleasant surprise, I received a lot of interested from math teachers to social studies teachers to language arts teachers. We met 2 times over the summer and came up with some fun ideas to create a rich environment for cultivating a love of reading.

Our goal is to create an environment where teachers from all subject areas are promoting the importance and the love of reading. All our initiatives are voluntary (except the SSR) because we want students to choose reading instead of only doing it because it is required.

One Book-One School - We will be encouraging all teachers and students to read Three Cups of Tea

Reader of the Week - Each week a teacher or student will advertise a book over the morning announcements and (hopefully) a blog I would like to set up for this

"I'm reading" Signs - each teacher will have a sign outside their door where they can post the book/magazine/newspaper that they are currently reading

Book Discussion Groups - 3 times a year teachers will choose a book on which to host a discussion group and then students will sign up to participate in the various book discussions

Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) - 15 minutes every Monday morning (it may not be a lot, but it is a start!)

5th Grade Orientation - presentation to parents on the importance of reading and how to encourage their child to read

I would love to hear what do you do to promote reading with students!

Seedling in pavement photo used under Creative Commons license from

Seedling in soil photo used under Creative Commons license from


MrsE said...

Great ideas to head back to school with Miss M! Here's a site I've found useful

Miss M said...

OOOh, I love the site - so many awesome ideas! Thanks so much for sharing:)

Tara said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas! I got one at a conference that I love--hang a great book on a lanyard around your neck around school. I add a small post-it to the book so i can write down the student's number and give it to them in the hallway if it strikes their fancy.

Miss M said...

Thanks Tara, I'll have to try that idea out!